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MSF began activities in Italy in the second week of March, when it was the second-most affected country after China.  

We began supporting infection control and prevention and patient care in four hospitals in the northern epicentre and expanded activities to support family doctors and healthcare workers assisting people under isolation at home, as well as the staff of a nursing home for the elderly where cases had been detected.  

In Marche in central Italy, we have increased our support to a network of 30 retirement homes in several cities, to help prevent the infection spreading.  

In Rome, MSF has launched an emergency response focusing on a mobile clinic and health promotion,  at Selam Palace. The building is home to more than 500 refugees, mostly coming from the Horn of Africa.   

Today there are about fifty MSF staff involved in the response to COVID-19 in Italy.


Can you make a donation to support our COVID-19 response?

Right now, Médecins Sans Frontières is providing much needed support and medical care in over 30 countries to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our teams are also gearing up to confront potential outbreaks in the hundreds of areas we were already working before the pandemic struck. We are deploying medical staff, sending supplies and applying nearly 50 years of experience fighting epidemics to protect the most vulnerable and save lives.
Can you help increase our capacity to respond by making a donation to our COVID-19 Crisis Appeal?






Italy continues to be the main landing point for migrants and refugees coming to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.

With the influx of refugees, the Italian authorities don't have an adequate reception system to respond to their specific humanitarian needs. In 2015, MSF began search and rescue operations to prevent drownings at sea.

People continue to flee Libya and die attempting to cross the world’s deadliest maritime route.

Reception conditions in Italy are in a critical state: the system is plagued by a chronic lack of shelters, emergency management and the lack of global, coherent governance. MSF continues to monitor asylum seekers and refugees' informal settlements and to denounce undignified living conditions and the lack of, or limited access to, medical services.

Mental healthcare for refugees and asylum seekers

We provide mental healthcare across multiple reception centres in Sicily’s Trapani province, where a team of cultural mediators and psychologists screen asylum seekers for psychological vulnerabilities and provide care. 

As a result of past traumas, and the precariousness of their current situation, many refugees display post-traumatic or psychosomatic reactions or symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.

For migrants in transit along Italy's borders with France, Switzerland, and Slovenia, we work in partnership with local services and volunteer networks to provide food, shelter, medical and psychological care, as well as other essential items, such as hygiene kits.

Aquarius SAR: Winter conditions and high seas

In Rome, MSF runs a rehabilitation centre for torture survivors in collaboration with Italian NGOs Medici Contro la Tortura (Doctors against Torture) and Association for Law Studies on Migration (ASGI). Here, survivors have access to a wide range of care, including medical and psychological care, and physiotherapy.

Find out more about Italy